In this post I share with you a collection of some of the best image translation apps that you can use to translate any photo into the language of your choice. As is the case with voice and text translation apps, photo translators are great for learning a new language and for  navigating interlingual communication. Language students can use them as learning aids to help them expand their vocabulary of the target language.

Photo translator apps are a must have in your travel toolkit. You can use them to navigate unfamiliar places and read materials written in a language you don’t speak (e.g., menus, recipes, manuals, instructions, signages, posters, greeting cards, books, articles, and many more).  

Almost all of these apps include text to speech services allowing you to listen to how the translated text is spoken in the target language. This is especially useful to learn how target words are pronounced correctly in the target language. 

The way these photo translator apps work is simple: install the app, point the camera of your mobile device at a certain object, snap a photo (or upload a photo from you gallery or camera roll), the app automatically recognizes the text in the object and translate it to the language of your choice. You can also share translated text (and sometimes the pronunciation of the translated text) with others. 

1. Google Translate

Google Translate, my favourite in this list, offers photo translation options right within the app. You can use it to translate text from any photo or from photos saved in your gallery or camera roll. The way it works is simple and easy: open Google Translate app in your device, select the language you want to translate to and from, then tap Camera:
‘To translate the whole text instantly: Tap Instant Instant.To translate part of the document: Tap Scan Scan and then Capture .To translate text from a photo you’ve already taken: At the bottom right, tap Import Import.’Compatibility: iPhone/iPad and Android / Price: Free, offers in-app purchases / Age: 4+

2. Photo Translator

As its name indicates, this is another good photo translator app that uses advanced OCR technology  and artificial intelligence to translate any photo into the language of your choice. The app supports over 100 languages providing you with a wide variety of linguistic choices to choose from. 

The way Photo Translator works is simple: point the camera of your device at the displayed text, snap a photo and the app automatically translates it into your target language. The ‘translation text will be rendered right on the original text’.

Compatibility: iPhone/iPad and AndroidPrice: Free / Age: 4+

3. Microsoft Translator

Like Google Translate, Microsoft Translator supports different types of translations including voice translation, text translation, and photo translation. Simply grab a photo or a screenshot of the text and the app automatically detects and translate it into the specified language. You can also have the app speak out the translated text and view a detailed transliteration guide to learn how pronunciation of the target language works.

Other interesting features provided by Microsoft Translator include: the ability to search for alternate translations and meanings of words, phrasebooks for verified translations and pronunciation guides, download languages for offline use, share translations with other apps, translate websites on Safari using Microsoft Translator extension, and many more.

Compatibility: iPhone/iPad and AndroidPrice: Free / Age: 4+

4. Snap & Translate – Triplens

Triplens is a photo translator app that allows you to snap a photo of any object and have it translated into the target language of your choice.  Tripens’s Object Mode is especially helpful as it enables you to have both text and voice translation of photos taken or uploaded from the gallery. The app also offers a Text Mode that allows you to snap a photo of any document with pages and have it scanned and translated into any language you want. 

Compatibility: iPhone/iPad, Mac and AndroidPrice: Free, offers in-app purchases / Age: 4+

5. Translate Photo & Camera Scan

Translate Photo & Camera Scan is an OCR scanner and image translator. The app allows you to take photos of any text and have it translated into multiple languages. The app also offers an integrated text-to-speech functionality that enable you to hear how the translated text is spoken in the target language. 

Other interesting features provided by Translate Photo app include smart document edge detection (automatically detects edges of documents to scan), advanced optical character recognition (convert scanned documents to text), edit scanned images (e.g., apply filters, adjust contrast, crop, etc), and many more.

Compatibility: iPhone/iPad, Mac and Android alternative/ Price: Free, offers in-app purchases / Age: 4+

6. TranslateCam

TranslateCam is a photo and voice translator app. As is the case with previous photo translator apps, TranslateCam lets you take photos of any object and have it translated to the language you select. You can also snap a photo of a web page or a document and TranslateCam automatically detects the embedded text and translates it to any supported language. 

Besides photo translation, TranslateCam supports PDF translation and voice translation. You can upload any PDF document and the app will recognize, scan, and translate it to your language. Alternatively, you can opt for manual translation and use the keyboard to type in a text to translate. 

Compatibility: iPhone/iPod  / Price: Free, offers in-app purchases / Age: 4+

7. Snap & Translate

Snap & Translate is a photo translator app that enables you to conduct instant image translations. The app recognizes scanned objects and provides required translation. The app also supports translation of printed text. You can also choose to have translated text spoken to you so you know its pronunciation in the target language. Currently, the app supports over 40 languages including Thai, Welsh, Vietnamese, Serbian, Persian, Polish, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, and many more. 

Compatibility: iPhone/iPad and Android alternative/ Price: Free, offers in-app purchases / Age: 4+